Countdown to Race Day: How Atlanta Track Club Elite Works Out

Lauren SaraThis week, we will be talking to Atlanta Track Club Elite team members competing in the  Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon this Saturday, November 5. Each will address a different aspect of their training.  Today, Lauren Sara talks about increasing the distance of her weekly long run.Not many runners set a 10K PR in a workout. But for many reasons, Atlanta Track Club Elite team member Lauren Sara is not your average runner. The former University of Connecticut standout is running her first “official half marathon” at the Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon Saturday. Sara ran one for fun in high school, but this is the first time she is doing a proper training cycle for the distance. If her workouts are any indication, she’s in for a fast debut.Last month, Sara, who was a 10K specialist for the Huskies, ran a 10K time trial on the Silver Comet Trail with her Indianapolis-bound teammates. With a 5:20 last mile, Sara finished the workout in 33:06. She was under five-minute pace for the final 1/10th of a mile. Of course, it’s an unofficial PR. Still, it shows significant improvement over her actual personal best of 33:48.That stellar workout comes on the heels of a 15-week cycle that included some long, grueling, strength-building workouts. “Some of the bigger workouts we did were a 10-mile tempo, eight by a mile with 400 meter jog recovery, the good ol’ Michigan (1600, tempo mile, 1200, tempo mile, 800, tempo mile, 400, tempo mile) and a 23-mile long run with mile 20 and 21 at tempo pace,” Sara recalls. Sara says the toughest workout she did was the 10 mile tempo, a workout she has struggled with in the past but powered through this time.“The workouts overall are a bit higher in volume,” says Sara. “But the biggest difference for me was maintaining the high volume of workouts and increasing the weekly mileage as well.” Atlanta Track Club Elite coach Andrew Begley agrees. “Her training has changed significantly,” says Begley. “She does less speed training and focuses on endurance,” he says. “As an example, Lauren’s quarter mile repeats have changed dramatically.  During track season, Lauren might do 14-16 quarter mile intervals with a 200 meter very slow jog for recovery.  In training for the marathon, she has done 16 quarters, but has cut out the easy jog. She alternates a faster pace with her predicted marathon pace.”And the marathon is in Sara’s future. Begley says he hopes to have her on the starting line of a marathon in the spring of 2017 – all part of the plan to have an Atlanta Track Club athlete in the 2020 Olympic Games.Sara, who hopes to run under 1:16 on Saturday is in relax and recover mode now. How does she do that? She says she shoots some hoops, hangs out with her cat Dave and “likes to sit around and be as useless as the letter ‘g’ in lasagna.”You can follow Lauren on Twitter at  and you can follow the entire elite team at @atlTCEliteClick here to read about how Bridget Lyons is preparing for 2020Click here to read about Matt McDonald prepared for his longest runClick here to read about Andrew McLain’s tapering planClick here to read about how Sallie Post fuels for 100-mile weeksAbout Atlanta Track Club EliteAtlanta Track Club Elite is comprised of the Club’s top athletes who train together and represent the Club at local, regional and national races. The team aims to help athletes realize their goals while promoting competitive distance running, track and field and the mission of Atlanta Track Club. For more information on Atlanta Track Club Elite, visit Atlanta Track ClubAtlanta Track Club is a nonprofit committed to creating an active and healthy Atlanta. Through running and walking, Atlanta Track Club motivates, inspires and engages the community to enjoy a healthier lifestyle. With more than 26,000 members, Atlanta Track Club is the second largest running organization in the United States. In addition to the AJC Peachtree Road Race ( – the largest 10K running event in the world, the Publix Georgia Marathon, PNC Atlanta 10 Miler and Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon, Atlanta Track Club directs more than 30 events per year. Through the support of its members and volunteers, Atlanta Track Club also maintains a number of community initiatives including organizing and promoting the Kilometer Kids youth running program to metro Atlanta youth, honoring high school cross country and track and field athletes through Atlanta Track Club’s All-Metro Banquets and supporting the Grady Bicycle EMT program. For more information on Atlanta Track Club, visit